Synol­ogy DS916+ ...................................................

AN UNIN­SPIR­ING BLACK BOX, BUT IT’S CHEAPER THAN MOST FOUR BAY AL­TER­NA­TIVES, AND HY­BRID RAID ADDS FLEX­I­BIL­ITY

PC & Tech Authority - - CONTENTS - KEY SPECS $655 • www.synol­ogy.com OVER­ALL

S ynol­ogy’s nim­ble DS216j is one of our favourite NAS ap­pli­ances this month, and the DS916+ is built on the same plat­form – al­though it fea­tures a much beefier quad-core In­tel Pen­tium N3710 pro­ces­sor. This hap­pens to include a fairly ca­pa­ble GPU, but un­like the Asus­tor and Qnap sys­tems, the DS916+ doesn’t sup­port lo­cal video out­put. The ba­sic unit comes with 2GB of RAM, which can be up­graded to 8GB, so there’s am­ple head­room for run­ning de­mand­ing apps and ser­vices.

Like its two-bay coun­ter­part, the DS916+ sup­ports the full com­ple­ment of net­work­ing pro­to­cols, in­clud­ing iSCSI and Ac­tive Direc­tory. There’s in­te­gra­tion with half a dozen pop­u­lar cloud ser­vices, and a good range of backup op­tions; as with the DS216j, you can con­nect to two IP cam­eras for free, and there’s a whole host of desk­top apps for man­ag­ing your var­i­ous net­work ser­vices.

On top of this, the built-in Pack­age Cen­tre o—ers a huge ar­ray of op­tional apps, in­clud­ing email and web servers, and dozens of busi­ness tools and de­vel­oper frame­works. Given the plen­ti­ful re­sources on hand, it’s a dis­ap­point­ment to see that there’s no vir­tu­al­i­sa­tion host. But on the up­side, where the two-bay unit lacked the power to transcode video, the DS916+ has no prob­lem, hap­pily stream­ing all me­dia for­mats to what­ever DLNA, AirPlay and Plex re­ceivers we pointed at it.

An­other strength of the DS916+ is that, with four bays, you can take ad­van­tage of Synol­ogy’s Hy­brid RAID (SHR) tech­nol­ogy. This al­lows you to cre­ate a pseudo-RAID ar­ray from a group of di—er­ently sized disks; data re­dun­dancy is main­tained, while wasted space is kept to a min­i­mum.

The DS916+ isn’t par­tic­u­larly well con­nected, o—er­ing just two USB 3 con­nec­tors at the rear, and none at the front. There is, how­ever, an eSATA con­nec­tor, via which you can con­nect a Synol­ogy ex­pan­sion unit such as the five-bay DX513 en­clo­sure. If you want to com­mu­ni­cate di­rectly with wire­less clients, you can also plug in a USB Wi-Fi or Blue­tooth adapter.

Over­all, the DS916+ isn’t ex­actly an in­spir­ing ap­pli­ance. There’s a de­cent chunk of com­put­ing power here, but with no video out­put or vir­tu­al­i­sa­tion, it’s lim­ited to a con­ven­tional NAS role. Still, the hy­brid RAID op­tion is of real prac­ti­cal value, mak­ing it easy to get started with a hotch­potch of disks, or to up­grade in stages. The price isn’t bad ei­ther for the specs, fea­tures and per­for­mance.

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